Luke 22:42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still not my will but yours be done.”
Many of us would agree that we have started with a rough year this 2020. We seem to have experienced a lot of misfortune, challenges and setbacks during the first quarter of the year not to mention the existing pandemic that measures our resolve and resilience in these times. From last year, we were reminded to accept and appreciate changes not only in small details of our lives, community and the church but also big changes that may seem to overwhelm us. With that in mind, it is a challenge for us to believe that these changes can bring something good to us – not to mention having a fresh start. In fact, what we are experiencing now is the complete opposite. The question now is where is God in all these things? Is he mad at us for being too busy and for choosing not to observe this Lenten season seriously? Why does it have to be this kind of suffering?
During the Passion and Death of Jesus, He prayed to His Father just before He was about to be handed to the high priest. He knew at that very moment while praying that He is about to die. In Luke 22:42 He said, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still not my will but yours be done.” He is in complete submission to the Father’s will that his human nature shows his fragility and fear of pain as in the words “… take this cup(passion and death) away from me…” but His spiritual nature is so strong that He himself was able to say “… not my will but yours be done.” Isn’t it the same anguish and desire of every individual suffering in our current situation? Our faith is being challenged. We are worn down by the trials of our current times. What else can we do? In our daily lives, we are in constant struggle to uphold our values and convictions for our transformation. On the other hand, since it is our human nature, we tend to still hold on what is easier. We tend to shortcut this cup/process. We easily fall into sin when faced with temptations. Sometimes, even unconsciously, we nurture and embrace these bad habits and favorite sins that when these things need to be laid down, it is challenging and even painful for us. There has to be a point where we are to be broken for us to be completed again by God. Broken down to lay down what is not of God. There has to be a pruning stage. There has to be dying of oneself – dying of our selfish desires, dying of our pride, fears, judgments, stubborn ways, etc. There has to be a point wherein God allows these things to happen for us to stay still, focus on Him and His will and then listen to what He says. It has to be this process.
But we know that in all these things, God never left our side. The God present in in the Passion and Death of Jesus is the same God who is ever present at each moment of our lives. He was there, witnessing everything and suffering everything with us and for us. We know that this is part of the process He wants us to experience. He is a very compassionate and loving God. In fact, He does not want us to suffer. He is personally connected to us and deeply mourns with us in these challenging times but He allowed everything to happen, however painful it is for Him, just for us to see and experience His great and wonderful love. He teaches us to see everything not with our human eyes but with the eyes of faith that in the end of everything, we are very much ready to receive Him and embrace the resurrection of this season. He reminds us to place our complete trust in His will. We are all invited to remain in Him even if the path is winding, even if the boat is nearly sinking, even if our life is buffeted from all directions. Let us stay still, sit beside Him and listen to what He says. Let us not focus on this cup, but on the will of the Father. Remain at peace in Him because He is our solid rock and a sure foundation. He is and will always be in control of everything for we know that He himself who overcome passion and death is at our side in love always. May your will be done, O Lord.
Dino Manalo is a Mission Volunteer for MFC Youth serving the Luzon Mission Team.